It was an early Sunday morning after a late Saturday night. The Vancouver summer morning was perfect. My friends picked me up in their truck, towing their gorgeous “Ski Nautique”, a speed boat specifically made for waterskiing, and we headed up to Deep Cove.
I did not grow up waterskiing, but I loved it when I learned how. It suited me: outdoors, oceans and lakes, a sport that required strength and a little courage… and the feeling of the wind whipping by. If you’ve done it, you know how exhilarating it feels. I was never a pro, but could get up on one ski and hold my own for a good ride.
On this particular morning the ocean was like “glass” as the water-skiers like to call it. Before I knew it I was floating behind the boat, arranging the rope and shouting “Okay!” The boat roared as it pulled me out of the water and I was zipping around the cove like nobody’s business. It was one of those moments you could take a snapshot of that depicted living life to its fullest; joy, courage, freedom…But it didn’t last more than a few minutes.
Out of no where I was hit with an asthma attack. Not very glamorous, right? A giant squid or an orca attack would have made for a way better story. But it stopped me dead in my tracks. In an instant I couldn’t breathe. I dropped the rope and waited for what seemed like an eternity for the boat to come around. I have no words to describe the fear I experienced in that moment. Imagine taking a breathe and your trachea closing up, over and over. My friends could see I was in trouble. They pulled me in and dug for my Ventolin, that drug in the blue dispenser that had saved me time and time again. Somehow I recovered.
In those days it was not uncommon for me to go through an entire Ventolin every couple of weeks. As well I took Flovent, an inhaled steroid, and occasionally Prednisone.
What amazes me is that in all of the visits to emergency, to respirologists, family docs and other health care professionals, no one ever asked me “What are you eating?”
I harbor no ill will, pass no judgement nor do I intend to criticize these people in any way! I know their intentions were good. They were just doing their job, the way they were taught. It is true I never made the connection myself!
It’s just that schools generally do not include education on the power of food. The good news it that is changing. Its been a slow-go, but there is a movement toward the consideration of good nutrition as it relates to health…and health recovery. Thank goodness!
Within three days of eliminating animal-based foods and most processed foods, the asthma slipped away. It rears its ugly head now and again, if something slips into a restaurant meal or if I have processed foods that contain animal products or other specific ingredients. Its not just me. Pediatricians who recommend asthmatic children go plant based barely see asthma in their practices. If you know someone struggling with asthma, you could send them this video from Dr Gregor: